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JewishJournal.com

May 31, 2011

Online Dating Gets Mean

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/online_dating_gets_mean_forces_me_to_face_my_demons_20110531/

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I had a date this weekend with a man I met on Match.com.  He seemed like a lovely man and I was attracted to his relationship with his children.  It did not hurt that I thought he was gorgeous.  He was so handsome that the moment he walked up I did not understand why he was on a date with me.

I think I’m beautiful.  I have a warm heart and a kindness in my eyes that people respond to.  I have beautiful hair, killer boobs and while I am not a skinny girl, I own every inch of my body and rock it.  I am a curvy woman and not ashamed of my body.  I dress sexy, am sexy, and am confident.

My match.com profile says that I am 45, has current pictures posted, and lists my body type as “a few extra pounds”.  I am very honest in the profile about who I am, who I am not, what I am looking for, and what does not work for me.  I have not misled anyone or written anything I am ashamed of.

Our date was Sunday night and on Monday night I got an email that read in part:

Ilana, to be honest with you, the pictures you have up are not recent.  I felt very deceived. One last thought, you need to take a full body shot to at least give the next man a chance to see you fully before tricking them into thinking otherwise. You are fatter than in your photos.  People like you have short-term happiness because of being dishonest.

He also made a comment about Jewish women, which I did not understand.  This man who we’ll call “Dean”, decided to hurt my feelings for no reason.  Telling me he was simply not interested was not an option. What kind of a man is that?  One I date apparently.

I did not lie or deceive him in any way.  I was honest with him as I am with everyone.  I was intimidated by his looks so perhaps I was sarcastic, and not as relaxed as I should have been on the date, but I was honest about who I was, what I wanted, and how I looked.  His email was uncalled for and mean.

If you go on a date with someone you are not interested in or attracted to, you can tell them in a kind way.  Instead Dean chose to do it in a way that has left me quite fragile.  I feel sad, unworthy, and unwilling to keep trying.  A complete stranger has managed to break my spirit.

I can’t help but wonder if he thought I was fat when he kissed me by the car, or told me I looked just like my picture, or when he said I was gorgeous.  I was expecting to have a second date and instead I got an email that was written with the intention of hurting my feelings.

I have horrible taste in men.  I do not regret any relationship I’ve had and I thank God everyday for my marriage because even though it was a very unhappy and abusive time, I left with the most incredible and divine child in the world, my wonderful son.

I’m not good at knowing if someone likes me.  I have demons that come out on occasion and tell me I am unworthy of love.  It is insane because I am smart and know better, but I have a somewhat painful history that certainly does not define who I am, but sadly shapes my worldview.

I left an abusive marriage with a small baby, and built a life for myself.  It took me years to open my heart to love and the serious relationships I’ve had since my divorce have ended in heartache.  It has left me jaded but hopeful, so I keep searching for something I may never find.

Twenty-two years ago I was the victim of a violent crime and spent a very long time in the hospital recovering from my injuries.  At the risk of sounding dramatic, it is a miracle I survived, both physically and emotionally. I fought my way back to health and happiness.

After the “accident” as I refer to it now, I gained a lot of weight.  It was my mission to make myself as unattractive as possible so that men would not look at me.  At the time of the accident I was smoking hot with a rocking body and I worked really hard to change that.

I eventually got married and had a baby, which is something that I still marvel at.  My attacker told me that nobody would ever love me, and while I cannot remember what he looks like, I can hear his voice in my dreams and remember those words as if it was yesterday.

I’m not sharing my history for sympathy, and must insist you give me none. I share it because after I worked so hard to gain control of my life, I was happy, felt comfortable and safe with myself, and with men, and allowed myself to diet and start looking good.

If you just met me you might think I was heavy but if you saw what I looked like only 5 years ago, I look like a supermodel in comparison.  I feel so skinny in my mind but I guess in the real world, not so much.  I must have body dysmorphia because I think I look thin and fabulous.

After many years in prison my attacker was released.  I thought I was fine but in the end I was perhaps not as prepared as I thought, and have put on weight since his release.  I struggle with my body not because I don’t like it, but because I don’t want anyone to like it.

For this man Dean to tell me that I am fat is crushing in a way that I cannot explain, and while my depth of despair was not known to him, he must have known that as a woman his words would be hurtful to me.  He was purposely mean and his lack of decency has sent me reeling.

My son knows of my accident as there was so much fear in my heart that he knew I was off a little bit.  He has been wonderful in his acceptance of me and goes out of his way to mend my heart. This is the most honest blog I have ever written and it is for my son.

This darling boy has allowed my heart to love when I thought it never would.  He has removed the shame of my experiences and allowed me to gather strength from them, and he has allowed me the honor of raising the type of man that I think the world needs more of.

When I got the email from Dean my son told me I am the most incredible person he knows and it would be hurtful to God if I did not share my heart with someone other than him.  He explained that the challenges I’ve faced have made me the mother I am and he is grateful.  I love this child.

My son, who is taking leaps and bounds towards being a man, gave me the strength to share a piece of my past that I was certain I never would.  To any woman who is reading, who thinks she is not worthy of love because of how she looks, I want you to know that I think you are beautiful.

To women who have survived an “accident”, my heart cries with yours and while it will be with your forever, it does not, and will not, define who you are as a human being.  Do not go through your journey alone.  Get help and find someone to hold onto so that you will never fall.

You are not labeled by what you have been through.  There is a man out there who will love you exactly as you are.  You are worthy of love, compassion and support.  I want you to know that from the most sincere place in my heart, I love you and have you in my prayers.

I won’t speak of this again and I know at some point I will regret having put it out there, but this is not about me.  It’s about Dean.  I have survived greater things than being rejected by him, so if his email was meant to make me feel bad about myself, it worked, but only for a minute.

I am too good for Dean and one day when his daughter is a woman, and someone is unkind to her, I hope he will remember his email.  Though he was not decent to me, I will be decent to him and say I hope nobody ever makes his beautiful daughter feel bad about herself.

I am not changing my profile pictures, and I am not letting men know I’ve gained a little weight since my attacker was released from prison.  I am going to own what I have, be proud of it, work on changing it, and believe there is a man out there to appreciate it, just the way it is.

I was going to make cookies last night and wallow in self pity, but instead I had a good cry, threw out the cookies, and went to bed.  I am not going to let a coward make me feel so bad about myself that I take a step backward and lose my self esteem.  I’m too smart for that.

To my son, you are the man of my dreams.  I look forward to telling your children how lucky they are to have you for a dad.  To my own father, who sat next to me everyday until I got well, I know you are watching over me and I am okay.  Rest in peace Dad.  I love you.

To every woman who thinks she is not good enough, you are.  To survivors of violent crimes, I rise up with you. To Dean, I forgive you for perhaps your pain is greater than mine.  I am full and fabulous and I will not be broken, as long as I hold God close and keep the faith.

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